No, not Occupy Wall Street or Occupy anything.
That was the estimate by Nate Silver (then of 538 blog, now of The NY Times) of the April 15, 2009 Tax Day Tea Parties. Silver noted the upward adjustment of the Tea Party rally in Atlanta from the 7,000 estimated by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to 15,000:
I promised that I wasn’t going to put much more work into estimating crowd sizes for yesterday’s tea party events, but here is one last update. The important thing is that we now have a credible estimate for Atlanta at 15,000 persons; we were previously relying on an estimate of 7,000 that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had initially made yesterday evening but then pulled back upon.
Look at the scope of Silver’s calculations, the hundreds of places that drew hundreds and sometimes thousands of attendees, and compare it to the relatively paltry number of locations and crowds at the Occupy rallies. (My account of the Tea Party rally in Corning, NY, is here.)
In contrast to 15,000 at the Atlanta Tea Party rally, there were a few hundred at the Occupy Atlanta rally, which devolved into one of the weirdest side-shows in the history of American protest, with catatonic collective chanting and a refusal to allow Congressman John Lewis to talk to the crowd.
In contrast to attacks on a national treasure (the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum [see note below]) during the OccupyDC rally, the Tea Parties were peaceful. For a trip down memory lane, check out the Memeorandum page from April 15, 2009.
[Note added: Apparently a reporter for the conservative American Spectator was in the crowd that rushed the doors, leading to charges that the incident was the result of a provocation. In the photo of the reporter published at Firedoglake, he’s seen holding a camera, and no explanation is given as to whether he forced the dozens of others who rushed the door to do so.]